Daily life is like a maze with infinite turns and dead ends. Making a plan and taking the time to review it periodically is like taking a ladder up to the stand on top of the wall. You can see further, avoid the next dead end, and reorient yourself to move toward the goal, rather than away from it. Review, plan, get back on course.
Monthly progress reviews and planning sessions are great if you do them. I imagine there are people who do monthly reviews outside a work setting, but they are probably either boring or bored. That’s my excuse for not doing monthly reviews.
Yet I will agree that yearly reviews and planning sessions are the bare minimum needed to measure progress and make course corrections. Quarterly is a happy medium.One undeniable fact I’ve learned from this project is that I am more likely to reach my goals when I put a plan in writing. It really is the best way to tackle my stubborn, self-sabotaging other self.
So, where to start? Here’s the short version:
1. Where are you now?
2. Where do you want to be?3. How did you get where you are?
4. How will you get where you’re going?
My answers:1. Half-way through implementing the Escape plan.
2. Free.3. Planning, working, course correcting, planning, working, course correcting, planning (you get the picture).
4. More of number 3, specifically:a. Increase paid writing work.
b. Improve my writing.
c. Finish the dang book, for crying out loud.
d. Build new revenue streams.
Easy as pie, right?
But the phrase “comfort zone” is a copout. It would be more accurate to call it a safety zone. All too often, we prefer the predictable results of life as we know it in the safety zone, even if the safety zone is a miserable place to be. Then you look up and ten years have flown by.No more.
Start with a simple assessment like the one below.2012 in review:
· Secured paid writing contracts to meet half of monthly income requirements,
· Reduced regular workload involving the stuff that drives me batty,
· Increased farm revenue,
· Posted an insufficient number of posts to the Escape.2015 blog, and
· Almost whipped the tax gorilla.
Then think about things you’d like to do this year which will help you get where you want to be.
Here’s a peek at my plans for 2013:
· Upgrade the Escape.2015 blog as follows:
· Get a new look,
· Move to Wordpress,
· Establish a reasonable posting schedule, (and stick to it)
· Sort through old posts and eliminate the really crappy ones,
· Clean and tighten our theme,
· Consider revealing identities,
· Give away every bit of information learned along the way about planning and effecting an escape;
· Continue to increase writing work while decreasing other work,
· Find additional sources of income to be generated remotely or passively,
· Schedule time every week to work on The Book,
· Write an article for magazine publication at least once each month,
· Submit so many articles for publication that it becomes easy to toss or delete the rejections with a roll of the eyes while considering to whom we will resubmit, and
· Do quarterly reviews. (Monthly may be better, but quarterly is more realistic for me.)
Once you've looked made your lists, use the information to help answer the four main questions above. Remember, it’s not a contract or a graded assignment. It’s a plan. It’s your plan. You get to change it as much as you want as often as you want, and you can keep it a secret or post it on a billboard in the front yard.
If reading this post made that withered part of your soul start tingling again, to believe on some small level that big changes really are possible, then what are you waiting for? Planning costs zero dollars, it can be done anywhere, and it is without a doubt the most powerful tool we have for changing the course of our lives.
Everyone ends up somewhere. Will you get there on purpose, or will you be a casualty of someone else’s plan?
I'll take Door Number 2, please.